Cooperstown Crier - Your Source for Hometown News - Cooperstown, Baseball Hall of Fame

May 23, 2013

Hopefully HOF Classic date change is a hit

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Cooperstown Crier

---- — The National Baseball Hall of Fame’s annual seven-inning exhibition game has seen a drop in attendance in the last couple of year. The Hall of Fame Classic began as a Father’s Day event, was then moved to the Saturday before the holiday, and is now being held on Memorial Day Weekend.

Hopefully the third time is the charm.

Hall of Fame President Jeff Idelson has said: “We are excited to bring this event to Memorial Day Weekend, with the hopes for even more residents and tourists to celebrate the start of summer.”

There is a good chance more people will head to Cooperstown as it is a popular weekend for travel. Many people have an extra day off of work and are excited to get out and enjoy the warm weather.

However, we are not sure the game will ever attract as many fans as the Hall of Fame Game — a Major League Baseball exhibition that had a 68-year tradition in Cooperstown before it was discontinued in 2008. According to Hall of Fame officials, nearly every game sold out.

No matter how many events are planned in connection with the Classic, there seems to be no replacement for getting the chance to see current major leaguers take the field. This is probably because the active players are more recognizable by baseball fans because they are the one’s being viewed on television. They are little “Johnny’s” and little “Sally’s” heroes.

OK, so the current ballplayers already have full schedules. Major League Baseball pulled the plug on the game because of mounting difficulties with scheduling. It could even be argued that The Hall of Fame Game itself had grown a bit stale with players not wanting to make the trip to Cooperstown and not participating in the game very much at all.

The time was right for a change in the format. Who wants to watch players that do not want to be here. At least the old-timers are eager to put on a show.

However, now is the time to try to get some more current retirees. The Hall of Fame needs to showcase different players every year because people will begin to lose interest. Maybe not this year, or two years from now, but eventually they will.

The game seems to be more about having fun than competition. Perhaps the outcome of the game should mean more to both the participants and fans. Maybe invite ex-Yankees and Red Sox players to play an exhibition. That’s a game neither side would want to lose.